Remote Work Best Practices In The Face Of COVID-19
As more government agencies follow state directives to implement remote work for their teams in the combat against COVID-19, we wanted to provide some helpful tips for teams transitioning to remote work, based on our experiences…
- Overcommunicate – Always. Get comfortable with being more forward. Don’t make assumptions, always ask. And be specific with regards to the desired outcome, when you need it / time-box, etc.
- Responsiveness – Even if you’re on a call or busy, if someone’s looking for you or you’re running late to their meeting, let them know with a quick message back about your status. Messaging apps like Slack allow users to configure pre-set statuses like “grabbing a meal”.
- Have charitable assumptions – Start by believing in positive intent as both giver and receiver of information.
- Quick flexibility in mode switching – If you have difficulty resolving an issue after multiple email or chat messages back-and-forth, pick up the phone. It works!
Phone and Video Conference tips:
- Free tools – Almost all conferencing tools (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangout, Citrix) have free tiers to support smaller teams (same for Slack messaging).
- Consider having video on for conferencing – Even if you hate it. Video can be critical to giving and receiving non-verbal conversational cues in a remote environment.
- Lighting – Light the front of your head, not the back! If your lighting is behind you, people will only see a black room with a dark silhouette.
- Background noise – Highly-sensitive laptop microphones pick up background noise and keystrokes on video conference calls. Do everyone a favor and use a headset when in shared places and mute your audio before typing.
For adults juggling both working remotely and childcare at home – below are free educational resources available online:
- Resources from Education.com [Education.com]
- How to Use Khan Academy Kids for Remote Learning [Khan Academy]
- Scholastic Learn at Home [Scholastic]
- A Comprehensive List of Free K-12 Educational Resources [Open Culture]
- Resources to Help Augment School Assignments for Teens and Primary School Students [Quartz]
Other tips for remaining productive and healthy while working remotely:
- Wake up at a normal time and establish a morning routine – Before you start working, normalize your day by doing tasks as you would before work in an office. Eat breakfast, have coffee, relax, or meditate.
- Get dressed for WFH – It can promote a psychological effect where you’re in the mood to be productive.
- Set your workstation next to a window or somewhere with good natural light – It can help with maintaining a positive mood as you’ll spend most of the day in this spot.
- Schedule breaks and find ways to infuse necessary breaks in the day (or the same social time you normally would have in the office) – When you’re focused and in the flow of working, it’s very easy to let hours pass by with back-to-back meetings before ever turning away from your computer. Perhaps try to:
- Set alarms for 15-minute breaks to move, stretch, do a set of pushups, get fresh air and most importantly, to disconnect from tech devices and screens.
- Call someone on the team instead of emailing or instant messaging (if they are available of course).
- If possible, move to a different room or area to just sit down, relax, and change the scenery a bit.
- Stock up on healthy groceries – Feed yourself power food, and make sure you have it on hand so that you never feel stranded or resort to eating junk food simply because there is nothing else.
- Find little ways to help yourself feel like you’re not living in a box – light a candle, turn on some light music in the background, open a window. It can help!
- The last rule of co-working with your roommate or spouse – don’t yell out for toilet paper!
Be well and stay safe,
The EcoInteractive Team